Hey, the Phillies Have a Winning Record

Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera.

Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera.

When Jeanmar Gómez struck out Ryan Zimmerman with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning last night, the Phillies got something they hadn’t had in a really long time: A winning record.

The Phillies lost 99 games last year, but they actually started last season 3-2. But the last time they were over .500 this late in the season was early May 2014, when they were 15-14. Read more »

Pro Baseball Player Sean Murphy, Fishtown Native, Dead at 27

Sean Murphy. Photo | MLB

Sean Murphy. Photo | MLB

The Oakland Athletics announced today that Sean Murphy, a 27-year-old minor leaguer with the franchise, was found dead yesterday in Arizona. Murphy, a native of Philadelphia, was 27.

“The A’s are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Sean Murphy,” A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane said in a release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

According to Philadelphia Baseball Review, Murphy was a native of Thompson Street in Fishtown. Like his older brother Pat, Murphy was a sports star at Northeast Catholic High School. The Spirit profiled the family just last week. Read more »

Dario Saric Would Fill A Need For Sixers

Dario Saric, selected 12th overall in the 2014 NBA draft, insists that he will join the Sixers next summer | Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Dario Saric, selected 12th overall in the 2014 NBA draft, insists that he will join the Sixers next summer | Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

According to David Pick, International Hoops Insider for Bleacher Report, Dario Saric was telling his teammates that he intends to play for the Sixers next year.

The Sixers acquired Saric, selected 12th overall in the 2014 draft, in a draft day trade with the Orlando Magic where the Sixers swapped their 10th overall selection for Orlando’s 12th, which the Sixers used to select the Croatian forward. In addition to Saric, the Sixers received two more draft selections to allow Orlando to move up two spots: a 2015 second round draft pick from Orlando, and extinguished the future first round pick they previously owed the Magic thanks to the ill-fated Andrew Bynum trade.

Saric, who played for Cibona Zagreb in the Adriatic league during the 2013-14 season, signed a three-year contract with Anadolu Efes in the much tougher Turkish League just days before the draft, although the contract had an option built into it which would allow Saric to leave after two seasons. That contract situation caused Saric to fall in the draft.

While it makes some financial sense for Saric to play the final season of his contract with Efes and avoid the rookie-scale, which locks Saric into a set amount based on where he was drafted, Saric has been adamant that he would come over to the NBA at his earliest opportunity. The comments from Saric, in that context, is really just further validation of claims he’s frequently, and consistently, made.

What does Saric give the Sixers if he does, in fact, come over?

Read more »

Does Front Office Change Make A Major Trade Inevitable For The Sixers?

Both Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor will be out of the lineup when the Sixers take on the New York Knicks in preseason basketball tonight at Madison Square Garden | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Could the Sixers move on from one of Noel or Okafor this offseason? | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The elephant in the room of the Sixers’ offseason has always been how the roster imbalance would be resolved.

Sam Hinkie stuck to a “best player available” strategy in the draft, a strategy that is almost universally accepted within the basketball community. But, like most aspects of Hinkie’s rebuilding plan, that theory was taken to extremes, leaving the Sixers with three talented big men in Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, and Nerlens Noel, and no real certainty any of them can effectively play together.

The changes to the Sixers’ front office, which saw Sam Hinkie resign as general manager and president of basketball operations, with Bryan Colangelo stepping into the president role in his place, creates quite a bit of uncertainty as to how this imbalance will be resolved.

Read more »

Howie Roseman’s Big Trade Is Just the Splash the Eagles Needed

Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

Carson Wentz. (USA Today Sports)

In a past life, I could never have sanctioned a hefty priced trade up the draft board to select a quarterback who played at the FCS level, or what we have known all these years as Division I-AA.

But I too am carried away by the splash.

In Philadelphia, we haven’t had many splashes lately, so the bold move by Eagles general manager Howie Roseman to trade what amounts to be a first, second and third round pick, spread out over a couple of years, has refreshment written all over it.  Read more »

Why This Princeton Football Team Won’t Be Suiting Up Next Season

Princeton vs. Chestnut Hill College. Photo | Chestnut Hill College

Two Princeton sprint football players tackle a member of the Chestnut Hill College team. Photo | Chestnut Hill College

Back in 2010, Stephen Bednar, a former Princeton sprint football player (class of 1960), ignited a firestorm by penning a letter to the editor of the Princeton Alumni Weekly after Penn’s sprint team beat the Tigers by a score of 91 to 13. “Ninety-one is a basketball score,” Bednar noted. “Because of its dismal performance over the years, it appears that Princeton cannot compete effectively in the sprint-football league against the likes of Army, Navy, etc.” He went on to suggest that the sprint program be discontinued — a mercy killing, if you will.

Among those who sprang to defend the sport was Joe Salerno, also a former player (class of ’84), who countered with a stirring paean to the program: “Sprint is for those who were told their whole lives that they were too small to play football but still strapped on the pads for the love of the game. … Instead of glory, sprint footballers get a few moments of on-field exhilaration and lessons about discipline, dedication, and teamwork that last a lifetime. … ” Last week, Princeton finally, belatedly acquiesced to the now-deceased Bednar’s proposal and announced the end of its sprint football team.

Joe Salerno is still worked up about that. He’s worked up even though in all the years since Bednar wrote his letter, Princeton’s sprint football team hasn’t won a game. It hasn’t won a game, in fact, since long before that, in an amazing losing streak that dates back to 1999. (Or thereabouts; nobody’s really sure.) A 2005 article in the Daily Princetonian cited 35 straight losses over the prior five years — “A men’s Division 1 record — for any sport — of dubious distinction.” Sports Illustrated and SB Nation have written about the streak. The annual joke edition of the Daily Princetonian regularly skewers the team.

But where some see relentless humiliation, Joe Salerno sees only the promise of vindication. “I look at this as the biggest opportunity in the world!” he says, just about hyperventilating in his outrage. “No one’s ever lost that much! I can’t believe this is the university’s decision!”  Read more »

Bryan Colangelo Doesn’t Expect Much Change In Front Office

Bryan Colangelo represents the Toronto Raptors during the NBA basketball draft lottery, May 21, 2013.

Bryan Colangelo represents the Toronto Raptors during the NBA basketball draft lottery, May 21, 2013.

When Bryan Colangelo was hired to be president of basketball operations for the Philadelphia 76ers, the future of Sam Hinkie’s staff was brought into question.

Those questions were answered, somewhat, when Colangelo said he told ownership Brett Brown was his coach going forward.

“I told the ownership Brett Brown is the coach of this basketball team going forward. I left no question [to that],” Colangelo told CSN Philly’s Breakfast on Broad last week.

Colangelo went a step further yesterday, saying that he doesn’t anticipate a lot of changes to the front office.

Read more »

The Phillies Batted the Pitcher 8th Last Night

Jeremy Hellickson batting 8th

The Phillies won last night on a walkoff single in the 11th inning, with Peter Bourjos driving home Freddy Galvis to salvage one game in a three-game series against the Mets.

Bourjos was in that position last night because the Phillies did something they hadn’t done in nearly 40 years: Last night, manager Pete Mackanin batted the pitcher 8th. Per beat writer Matt Gelb, it was the fist time since June 1, 1979, that the Phillies batted the pitcher 8th. Read more »

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